Top Ten Lists

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of my favorite cities because there are so many great outdoor activities to partake in & a never ending supply of entertaining attractions to check out. With the diversity of offerings, from the beaches, to the many cultural & entertainment offerings, to the year-round events, one would be hard-pressed not to find something interesting to do in L.A.

Here are my top 10 things to do in Los Angeles!
  • 1. Hike in Runyon Canyon
    Hike in Runyon Canyon
    2001 N Fuller Ave, , 90046
    This public park features beautiful views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. The Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory are easily visible along the trail. And thus, it's no surprise that this hike draws tourists from all over the world.

    The hike is a good workout with a good mile or so of walking uphill. Visit on the weekdays for fewer crowds – trust me the weekends get pretty packed! There is free parking available near the entrance. If you are looking more for relaxation rather than hiking, check into a morning yoga session (offered for free).

    In my opinion, Runyon Canyon should be the top attraction on everyone’s L.A. to do list! You will not only get a great workout in for the day, but you will also have the opportunity to soak in fantastic views of the city, take memorable photographs, and most of all, enjoy a relaxing nature experience away from the traffic & congestion of the city.
  • 2. Enjoy a scenic bike ride on The South Bay Bicycle Trail
    Enjoy a scenic bike ride on The South Bay Bicycle Trail
    Torrance County Beach to Will Rogers State Beach, , 90505
    Riding along "The Strand" bike path is a convenient way to explore the various beach towns while also getting in a workout. This 22 mile path runs from Torrance to Will Rogers State beach. Free parking can be found at the beginning of the path in Torrance (check the side streets, just watch for signs). I love that you can always find free parking basically anywhere in L.A.

    There is so much to do along the way including watching volleyball games in Manhattan Beach, being entertained by unique street performers in Venice, and riding past the iconic Santa Monica Pier. In addition to all these attractions, you are surrounded by gorgeous ocean views and bright sunny skies. The path is never overcrowded and it is always a smooth ride! Nothing says Southern California quite like several hours of bike riding along endless beautiful beaches!
  • 3. Relax at a beach
    Relax at a beach
    Dept. of Beaches and Harbors - 13837 Fiji Way, , 90292
    I love walking or running along the beach early in the morning before it gets really hot outside and crowded; it's basically one of the few times you can feel as if you have the ocean to yourself in Los Angeles. All beaches are great, however, I highly recommend Manhattan Beach and Will Rogers State beach for their beauty and tranquility.
  • 4. Ride the Santa Monica Pier rollercoaster
    Ride the Santa Monica Pier rollercoaster
    200 Santa Monica Pier, , 90401
    The historic Santa Monica coaster, located right on the famous pier, offers panoramic views of the Pacific. A ride on the classic coaster is definitely the most entertaining and nostalgic way to take in the scenery of the area. In addition to a coaster, Pacific Park is also home to carnival games, restaurants, additional rides, and even a small aquarium. Most notably, the pier marks the end of historic Rt. 66.
  • 5. Visit the Griffith Observatory
    Visit the Griffith Observatory
    2800 E Observatory Ave, , 90027
    The Griffith is a great place to visit day or night. Here, you can great views of the city, surrounding mountains, and Hollywood sign by day via the overlooks and on-site trails. By night, free telescopes are open for public use when skies are clear. As an added bonus, the nighttime city views of LA are pretty spectacular. All exhibitions are free except for the shows which are worth the small fee.

    The trails at the Griffith Observatory offer the best views of the Hollywood sign. On the trail, you can take awesome close up pictures. Another bonus - there is free parking if you are willing to hike up to the entrance!
  • 6. Watch a live taping of your favorite TV show
    Watch a live taping of your favorite TV show
    Various studios, , 90210
    Watching your favorite sitcom being filmed is a great way to see your favorite celebrities up close. A trip to L.A. isn't quite complete without taking part in some type of celebrity themed event. Let's face it - Los Angeles is such a big city and your likelihood of seeing a movie star elsewhere is slim.

    The tapings are really fun. Typically, there is a warm up comedian who interacts with the crowd during breaks. Some celebrities will hang around afterwards to provide autographs. I have gotten a few autographs after tapings, including Neil Patrick Harris.

    On Camera Audiences holds the majority of sitcom and reality TV show audience tickets. During my time in L.A., I attended tapings of American Idol, Big Brother, The Price is Right, Melissa & Joey, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a few pilot episodes. Popular tapings book fast so make sure to check back frequently!
  • 7. Hike the Santa Monica mountains
    Hike the Santa Monica mountains
    Various, , 90405
    Hiking is a wonderful active alternative for those who wish to do more than simply lie around a beach all day. Fortunately, the Los Angles metro offers no shortage of fantastic hiking options. Really, there is a trail for everyone, whether it is your first time out or your 1000th.

    The beautiful Santa Mountains National Recreation area is home to over 500 miles of diverse trails. You can definitely work up a major sweat here, while also taking in some pretty incredible views.

    A great moderate trail to check out is the Los Liones trail. This trail is located within gorgeous quiet Topanga State Park. It's fairly shady for the desert, easy to get to with no parking fee, and offers tremendous views of the coast and surrounding mountains. There are several overlooks, so simply go out to your comfort level and enjoy the scenery!
  • 8. Shop & dine at the beautiful Grove Shopping Center
    Shop & dine at the beautiful Grove Shopping Center
    189 The Grove Dr., , 90036
    The Grove is a spectacular outdoor mall in the L.A. area which features nice landscaping, several high end designer shops, and plenty of fun dining options. There is also a movie theater and a free trolley that goes between the mall and the Farmers Market. This is a popular celebrity hangout and hundreds of sightings have occurred. Check the event calendar for free concerts and movies in the summer.

    The best time to visit is during the holidays when they go all out with a 110 foot Christmas tree (the largest in L.A.) and even a little bit of fake snow which is sure to please all those wishing for a White Christmas.

    There is a small charge for parking, however, it is free with restaurant validation. Check for filming of Extra with Mario Lopez, which is taped live during the week. In my experience, the taping is a fun way to spend an afternoon watching a TV show being filmed (plus they give out free stuff!). Update - Extra no longer tapes at The Grove. However, you can almost always find some entertaining event on the lineup!
  • 9. Search for your favorite stars on Hollywood Blvd.
    Search for your favorite stars on Hollywood Blvd.
    6925 Hollywood Blvd, , 90028
    There are lots of fun touristy things to do on Hollywood Blvd. First of all, there are fabulous views of the Hollywood sign from the second floor of Hollywood and Highland Center mall (now called Ovation).

    Grauman’s Chinese Theater is home to the famous hand and foot prints of many celebrities, both past and present. This is also the location of many movie premieres where you can catch a glimpse of your favorite celebs arriving.

    Here you can also search for your favorite stars along the Walk of Fame. You could literally spend hours checking out all of them as the walk seems to go on forever. On busy weekends, it can be hard to take photographs next to your favorites, so go early to avoid the crowds.

    There are several touristy restaurants in the area including my personal favorite, Hard Rock Café. In addition, you will also find the Hollywood Wax Museum, Guinness Book of World Records Museum, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in the area.
  • 10. Window shop Rodeo Drive & take your photo by the famous Beverly Hills sign
    Window shop Rodeo Drive & take your photo by the famous Beverly Hills sign
    Rodeo Drive - 9480 Dayton Way, , 90210
    Although cheesy & touristy, visiting Beverly Hills is something you have to do at least once. Take a walk down Rodeo Drive and window shop all the upscale shops or take a walk over to Beverly Gardens Park, which is also the location of the trademark Beverly Hills sculpture. I love all the colossal palm trees that line the streets of Beverly Hills. I recommend Sprinkles Cupcakes for a tasty treat.

    You can find this famous brown shield sign at: Sunset Blvd. and Sierra Drive in Beverly Hills.